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What laptop does your high school/college student use?


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So over a year ago I searched, so I thought, and bought Dells.  Medical uses them, the military uses them and the online college that my daughter takes classes has a link on their site to buy them soooo, I bought one.  I bought more than one because I have more than one child and they all do school online.  I have a desktop.  I have little problems with my desktop.  I use it for everything and it's not on wifi.  Now the laptops just plain horrible.  They are Dell Inspiron15 5000 series.  I had problems since Day 1 not only with the computers but with customer service.  We have a hard time with the Internet, they won't connect even when sitting right next to the router.  Software not working well. One just stopped all together and I still have a disk inside it.  Oh and we go places and even when we go places the computers don't want to work with the wifi.  After a year with them I just want to toss them but I cannot.  We are using them but nearly every day I hear the complaint of the computers and now everyone is using my desktop while the laptops collect dust.  Don't give Apple recommendations because my husband refuses to spend money on Apple products.  Our cell phones (which work better with internet than laptops) are all androids/samsung  products.    

With the teen starting her Sr. year and doing just college courses and classes out of the house that require a laptop, my parents wish to get her a good one. One that will hopefully go with her onto college.  

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My oldest uses a refurbished Dell Latitude that is a professional grade laptop.  It has been super sturdy, and worked well.  Our only issue is having to replace the charger, but that is because she keeps dropping the laptop and hitting where it plugs in  :glare:  She spent under $200 on it, and it was a good decision. 

 

My other two have had Toshibas and they are kind of horrible.  In fact, I'm looking at replacing the last one this week because the wifi decided to stop working altogether.  

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My oldest had a cheap Walmart Acer laptop that he used from 5th through 9th. It was just enough to run Office and low res video lectures, but not built for anything more than that. He never had a problem with it. I almost got another Acer from Costco. He ended up getting a Lenovo though. I've never owned a Lenovo. I made sure to buy it at Costco in case we do run into problems. His classes are going to require a more powerful laptop, so this one was definitely not cheap. It will also run some games and have no problem streaming Netflix. My hope is this one will last through college, but I'm not counting on it. 

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We got my dd a Chromebook before college, and she's had it for three years now.  There are many different models around.  This is the one she has:

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00H7WF22K/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

There are less expensive models too.

 

It's been great for her!  I don't know if you know about them.  Their programs are accessed online, not stored on the computer.  So, you need to be in a wifi area to access its programs, though you can work on google docs offline and save it till you get online.

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Ask Lanny - he always has interesting advice.

 

The first thing I would do (besides a basic virus scan through Malwarebytes or whatever) would be to update the driver for the wifi.  It sounds like you bought not long after Windows 10 came out, and IIRC, a lot of computers were having issues with driver compatibility.  My memory is hazy on the procedure for updating a wifi driver in Win10 but it is not difficult at all (google "how to update wifi driver in windows 10").

 

I also have a vague recollection that the Inspirons maybe were having issues with the wifi card itself.  Those can be replaced - usually they are very cheap.

 

If you can't figure out what the problem is, I'd probably take it in for repair rather than buy new - those are pretty recent computers and an expert should be able to get them up and running again, even if they need a clean install of Windows (though you can do that yourself too!  be brave!).  (If you go to computer repair, get an estimate first, of course.)  Then when fixed, fully shut down every night.

 

While I have my issues with the Dell Inspirons (LOL didn't I swear I'd never buy another Windows machine again?!), we have two that are 5 and 6 years old (or is it 6 and 7?) and they are still alive and kicking, through a few LCD screen replacements after having been dropped, and of course a few keyboards (the keyboards are cheap and quite easy to replace) and a clean install of Windows (one of which I was able to upgrade to Win10 even though Dell doesn't support Win10 for that old machine).  The i3 is pretty slow (the little kids use it) but the old i5 has 8 gb ram and is still doing quite well, considering its age.

 

Last summer, I bought dd15 a souped-up MacBook Pro (i7, 16 gb ram, 512 gb hard drive, retina display, 2015 model), refurbished, directly from Apple.  She works in Lightroom (photography) and needed a powerful machine.  It was really expensive but I am confident in the build quality.  I expect this computer to still be functioning well when she leaves for college in 2.5 yrs, though how far beyond that is hard to say.  Being realistic, it would not be surprising if she needed something new before she graduates from college (especially if she ends up doing something related to graphic design, let's say), though we will hope for the best that it makes it through college graduation - it's certainly possible.  Since the new Pros that came out this fall had some differences, there seem to be fewer Pros in the refurb store lately - it varies.

 

Last spring, I bought a new Samsung 15" Notebook 9 for the kids to share when I thought the Inspirons were dead (long story).  Extremely light.  We had a keyboard issue and I unfortunately opened up the back to see how hard it would be to replace it myself, and in the process voided the warranty - oops.  So, it's a cool machine but I wasn't thrilled with durability.  Had to get the keyboard replaced by an actual professional.  Now it belongs to one of my ds13s, who takes it to school every day.

 

I'm now buying for ds10, to take to school every day and hopefully to last at least through middle school (a stem school where sometimes the computer class uses some hefty programs), so in that awful position of wanting everything, power, durability, light weight, and a low price.  Lanny pointed out the Latitudes (a Dell business model, more durability than the Inspirons) and I am looking at some on ebay, among other options (way cheaper than full price from Dell but involves a little bit of judgment).

 

A lot of decisions involve what the student will be doing with the machine - just word processing and internet?  Or computer programming or graphic work of some kind?  Gaming?  Figure out:  what screen size you want (it depends on what it will be used for; I bought dd a 15" for her photography but my 13" MBP is awesome and I might buy ds a 12.5" though screen quality may also play a role), what processor (for me, i5 is my minimum though I don't have a lot of familiarity with the Ms), how much RAM (this can sometimes be added to, if there's room, depending on the model; if you are buying new now, I would not go less than 8, unless it has capacity to add to existing), how much hard drive space (depends on what it will be used for; I prefer the solid state drives at 256 gb, though I have used nowhere near that on my own computer and probably could have gotten away with 128, with extra stuff stored on external drives; I'm not wielding big files, unlike my dd15), what weight (how mobile does this need to be; for a machine that will go places daily, I would aim for 3.5 lbs or less).

 

For a machine that doesn't need to go places daily (maybe just occasionally) so could weigh a little more, there are more options that Lanny was pointing out to me in the Latitudes and Dell Precision lines.

 

Once you know what you really want, it's much easier to sift through the options and combinations at various price levels - you will get a better understanding of what each increment in quality costs and can feel more confident in the value you are getting.  Different people have different needs.  Don't buy in a hurry - take your time.

 

ETA, decide if you really want a touchscreen or not.  After seeing ds10's Surface 3 basically bite the dust (got dropped and cracked screen led to actual system problems), I'm not keen on buying a touchscreen unless there's a real need.  Replacing a touch screen is more expensive than a regular screen.  Plus they add weight and bulk.

Edited by wapiti
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Lanny is likely to recommend the Dell Latitude E6410 or similar. He has a few of those and gave me some good advice when I was looking earlier this year. I've got two, one of which my high schooler uses, and they're very nice, very solid machines that work well. I'd recommend them, and they run under $150 shipped, from eBay sellers, with a fresh install of Win 7 and good-sized hard drives. The only reason I wouldn't recommend them is if you want to take them to classes or something a lot, because they're a little big and heavy for that. We mostly use ours around the house, so it isn't a big deal.

 

It also depends on whether you need special software. Ours can run Chrome, OpenOffice, current Steam games, etc. with no problem, but I don't know if they can run DH's fancy CAD software. So if you need it for college, make sure you don't need specific software.

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Older ds - MacBook Pro because he uses it for high level programming and the compilers would be slow otherwise / he has had it since 2013 and we expect it to take him to senior year of high school- if your student is a true tech geek and will care for the machine get the most ram you can afford and they can probably keep these well built machines for up to 7 years!

Younger dd- getting her own Chromebook for Christmas- we got a larger HD screen and it was still only about 300....we consider these "throw away" machines and only expect them to last a few years. But we love them and have been extremely happy with our Toshiba chromebooks!!!

If your student is doing digital stuff, photography, proframming then get a Mac

If your student is just using it to get on the internet, type documents and spreadsheets, and normal everyday use, get a chrome book.

We personally dislike PCs but there might be some situations where those are best. I don't know of them myself ....These are in the middle price wise...They aren't as easy to understand as a Mac but then again Depending on where you live many of your friends might have one or teachers etc. in which case many people to help you out.  (My son says Gaming and Office Work are what PC's are good for -note I don't mean the type of "office work" a student would do but the type of "office work" an admin assistant/paralegal/lawyer might do.)  (Gamers like them because they modify it the way a kid might modify a bike or a young guy might modify a car- constantly looking for and updating individual parts/components for more speed/power/better audio/visual etc.)  

Where we live EVERYONE has either a Mac (because they're a true tech geek and many people have $) or ...a Chromebook- because they are common, cheap, easy to find and they're everywhere.

So I say either Mac or Chromebook depending on the students needs :)

Edited by Calming Tea
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PS I just re-read your OP.  Sorry for the recommendation of Mac's but they are the best hardware, software, computers, most reliable, best customer service, best everything we've ever had.  :)  Maybe worth looking into if your student is into anything requiring a lot of power. (minus gaming)

 

Otherwise, get a Toshiba Chromebook :)

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I bought my older son a Lenovo three years ago, and it has been the best laptop we have ever had.  It has outlasted all of the Dell laptops by far.  I had never owned a Lenovo before, but once we had this one, there is just such a huge difference in the quality.  Even in terms of construction, it is just a very sturdy laptop.  The Dell I am using right now is practically coming apart at the joint, and it is just so flimsy.  The Lenovo is just really substantial and is a pleasure to use.  Like, even the way the keys feel is different.  The performance has been great, and we haven't had any problems at all with it.  It was expensive, though, and because it is so sturdy, it is a little on the heavier side.  My son does take it places though, and it doesn't seem to be so heavy that it's not still portable.  I think when I need to replace this laptop that I am typing on right now, which could be soon, I will definitely be getting a Lenovo.

Edited by Grantmom
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I bought my older son a Lenovo three years ago, and it has been the best laptop we have ever had.  It has outlasted all of the Dell laptops by far.  I had never owned a Lenovo before, but once we had this one, there is just such a huge difference in the quality.  Even in terms of construction, it is just a very sturdy laptop.  The Dell I am using right now is practically coming apart at the joint, and it is just so flimsy.  The Lenovo is just really substantial and is a pleasure to use.  Like, even the way the keys feel is different.  The performance has been great, and we haven't had any problems at all with it.  It was expensive, though, and because it is so sturdy, it is a little on the heavier side.  My son does take it places though, and it doesn't seem to be so heavy that it's not still portable.  I think when I need to replace this laptop that I am typing on right now, which could be soon, I will definitely be getting a Lenovo.

We are also Lenova lovers here. Both kids got a Lenova for high school graduation. Dd had to replace hers the first year (note: don't spill your Dr Pepper on it freshman year while you're studying in bed :tongue_smilie:), but she replaced it with another Lenova Thinkpad that lasted well. Ds went through two Lenovas over a period of 12 years. Mine has lasted for seven years now & is still going strong!

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FWIW, we have purchased HP computers from Walmart for well over a decade and have had excellent results with them.  The last one I purchased was in October of this year.  I paid $209 shipped for a very nice refurbished HP computer.

 

We have a hard time with the Internet, they won't connect even when sitting right next to the router.  

 

If this is a recent problem, then I can say we have had exactly the same issue.  There seems to be a serious issue with Windows 10 that causes computers to lose their ability to connect to the internet, even if attached with a cable.  I have addressed this with FOUR different Windows 10 computers within the last couple of weeks.  Here are the web pages and videos which helped me fix these problems:

 

Steps 1), 2) and 3) from this page fixed the problem on most of the computers: Windows 10 Limited Connectivity and Not Getting IP from DHCP

 

For one computer, I had to reach out to "Handy Andy" from down under:

 

 

 

I had to use the very last suggestion on the second video to get one computer working.

 

Good luck with your computers!  I hope this helps.

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Sorry to hear about your issues. I do not believe your experiences are typical of Dell laptops. In our house, we have seven (7) Dell Laptops and a Dell Desktop. They all work properly. Six (6) of the Dell Laptops are models that were designed for, and sold/leased to "Enterprise" customers (Corporations or Governments) and were purchased "Refurbished" (3) from Blair Technology Group, a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher, and 3 were purchased "Used INCOMPLETE LAPTOP" from an eBay Seller in PA and I got them up and running. One, is a "Consumer" grade machine, a Dell Inspiron laptop my Stepson bought, Used, from someone he knew, approximately 4 years ago.  DIL uses a mini ACER laptop my wife bought for her during August 2015, because she needed something really small and lighter than what we have in the house, to carry around in her backpack all day and have a school at night.  That ACER, and a Dell Inspiron Desktop (micro tower) that we configured and Bought from Dell Latin America during October 2012 are the only machines in the house that were purchased Brand New. All have been reliable. 

 

We did run into these problems over the years: The keyboard in one of the Dell Latitude E6410 laptops that I won on eBay developed one or more dead keys. I bought another keyboard for it from an eBay Seller.  The Screen on one of the Dell Latitude E6400 laptops that we bought from Blair Technology Group in 2014 developed a problem (stuck or bad pixels?) that was very annoying. Because the technology in that machine is so old, I am not going to buy a new Screen for it and will use it as a "Donor" laptop, since many of the components in the Dell Latitude E6400 and Dell Latitude E6410 and in my Dell Precision M4500 Mobile Workstation can be used in different models.

 

In general, I would not purchase a machine designed for and sold to the "Consumer" market again (Inspiron, etc.) because those are lower cost machines, with lower quality components and probably much harder to get replacement components for, and to service, than machines that are designed and built for "Enterprise" customers.  

 

My DD is a Distance Learning student ( 10th grade) and she has two (2) Dell Laptops. Her faster machine is one of the Dell Latitude E6410 laptops that I won in an eBay auction as an "INCOMPLETE LAPTOP". It has an external monitor, external keyboard, and external mouse hooked up to it. Her other machine is one of the Dell Latitude E6400 laptops we purchased from Blair Technology Group as a "Refurbished" laptop. I think it was purchased during May 2015.

 

Oh, other issues we have had involved DVD drives in 2 of the machines. One of them was the Dell Latitude E6400 DD is using. Blair Technology Group sent me a replacement drive, after the one that was in it developed problems, several months after we received the machine.

 

I have replaced a couple of hard disk drives in the machines described above, but that is a normal event and Dell does not manufacture hard disk drives.  The machine I am using to write this post (my Dell Precision M4500 Mobile Workstation) is the first machine in our house to have an SSD in it and those (hopefully) are more reliable than HDD    drives.  

 

The only suggestion I can make to you is that you consider purchasing Refurbished machines (pay $5 extra for the one year warranty, which covers everything except laptop batteries) from Blair Technology Group and not buying "Consumer grade" machines, which is what you would find if you walked into a brick and mortar store. Blair sells on their own web site and also on Amazon and eBay. My experiences with Blair Technology Support have been excellent and I suspect it is far better than what one would get from Dell USA now.                

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So over a year ago I searched, so I thought, and bought Dells.  Medical uses them, the military uses them and the online college that my daughter takes classes has a link on their site to buy them soooo, I bought one.  I bought more than one because I have more than one child and they all do school online.  I have a desktop.  I have little problems with my desktop.  I use it for everything and it's not on wifi.  Now the laptops just plain horrible.  They are Dell Inspiron15 5000 series.  I had problems since Day 1 not only with the computers but with customer service.  We have a hard time with the Internet, they won't connect even when sitting right next to the router.  Software not working well. One just stopped all together and I still have a disk inside it.  Oh and we go places and even when we go places the computers don't want to work with the wifi.  After a year with them I just want to toss them but I cannot.  We are using them but nearly every day I hear the complaint of the computers and now everyone is using my desktop while the laptops collect dust.  Don't give Apple recommendations because my husband refuses to spend money on Apple products.  Our cell phones (which work better with internet than laptops) are all androids/samsung  products.    

With the teen starting her Sr. year and doing just college courses and classes out of the house that require a laptop, my parents wish to get her a good one. One that will hopefully go with her onto college.  

 

You could try Ubuntu MATE from a flash drive to see if that resolves your connectivity issues.  (Then you would know it was the SW).

https://ubuntu-mate.org/about/

 

This is also very good for "reviving" old Windows machines that now don't perform well anymore or came with Vista. "pave it over".

It comes with the Firefox browser but you can also install Chrome or Chromium.

All free!

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OP   after my first reply to your thread, I reread your first post in this thread again.  It sounds like a lot of what you are complaining about it that the laptops will not connect reliably to WiFi.  Dell.com is a wonderful web site for Support. The first thing I would do is to write down the Dell "Service Tag" for each machine you are going to work on and then go to the Dell Support web site Dell.com and put in your "Service Tag" number.  I would then have it Download the "Dell System Detect" I think is the name to your machine and have it scan for the exact configuration (components) which I assume are the same components that it left the factory with. I would then ask it to suggest a new "Driver" for the WiFi card.....  I would install the new WiFi driver. If that does not solve your problem(s), then I would post in the Dell Laptop forum. There are many people with a lot of experience with Dell machines there and I think Dell has employees who frequent those forums too.

 

Note: Many years ago, I won a Compaq Desktop and monitor in a raffle. It was an "Enterprise" class machine. Some years later, it developed a problem that I believe had to do with the PSU (Power Supply) failing.  I believed the PSU had "proprietary" connections (non standard wiring on the connectors). I posted in the appropriate HP/Compaq forum. Nobody every replied. Not another HP/Compaq customer and not an HP/Compaq employee. That, for me, would prevent me from buying an HP/Compaq machine. The Dell Support Forum is hugely responsive in my experience.

 

 

 

 

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You could try Ubuntu MATE from a flash drive to see if that resolves your connectivity issues.  (Then you would know it was the SW).

https://ubuntu-mate.org/about/

 

This is also very good for "reviving" old Windows machines that now don't perform well anymore or came with Vista. "pave it over".

It comes with the Firefox browser but you can also install Chrome or Chromium.

All free!

 

+1 for this idea from Mark T.   If you can boot a "Live" distribution of Linux, you can quickly know whether it is the WiFi card (HW or Hardware) or the Software, which in this case is a "Driver" for Networking, for the WiFi card.  The Live Distribution of Linux will not modify anything on your hard disk drive unless you tell it to install that Linux distribution on your HDD.  It will be much slower, running from Removable Media, but that is a great way to diagnose whether it is HW or SW.

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Re: Lenovo. My daughter had a warranty issue and the computer had to be replaced twice. Lenovo mistakenly sent the second replacement to the main Geek Squad hub in KY where it was signed for and promptly lost. According to the legal stuff on Lenovo's website, Lenovo is responsible for the item until it arrives on the consumer's doorstep, but Lenovo told her she had to fight it out with Best Buy.

 

She went without a laptop for eight months while we went in circles with them and with Best Buy. Lenovo never did replace the laptop they lost. They in essence stole $700 of my college girl's money. I share this story whenever Lenovo comes up. They were horrible.

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I suggest that when buying a computer or other consumer electronics that one buy for what they need to do today, or in the next several months. The technology advances so quickly that in a year or two one can get hardware that is twice as fast for probably half the price.   Lenovo is the largest seller of PCs in the world. They bought the IBM business for Personal Computers, years ago. Lenovo also owns the Motorola brand of cell phones (Motorola Mobility).   If one plans to buy a computer for what they (might) need to do, 3 years down the road, that is asking a lot. To know what one will need to do then, and what hardware one will need to do that.  Do not overbuy.

 

As I wrote upthread, after rereading the OP, I believe the problem the OP has is with the Driver for the WiFi card. Worst case is that it is the WiFi card. She can buy a new WiFi card on eBay, if it is the card.  She can (probably) download the Dell Service manual from the Dell Support web site (Dell.com)

 

With regard to Apple stuff. Disregarding the other thread about the iPhones that cannot connect to Home WiFi, and knock those who are connected off the Home WiFi, I have a very good impression of their products and their "Build Quality" and especially their Support.  My cousin, the eminent M.D., describes himself as computer illiterate. Every 2 or 3 years, he buys a new Apple computer and he pays for their most expensive Support plan and they help him out when he is in trouble.

 

Software can get corrupted. That is especially apt to screw things up, if it involves Drivers, such as Mouse Drivers, Network Drivers, and Graphics Drivers. I had an extremely annoying problem, after I received this Dell Precision M4500 Mobile Workstation, which was on eBay as an 'INCOMPLETE LAPTOP".    After I got an SSD for it and had Windows 7 installed and updated, the Graphic Driver I'd gotten on the Dell Support site was causing it to Sleep/Hibernate, very quickly, and then I could not wake it up.  On the Dell Support web site, in the Forum, I discovered that was common.  I downloaded the nVidia Driver from the nVidia web site and after installing that, it works perfectly.   :hurray:

 

The Dell Precision M4500 is like a Dell Latitude E6410 on steroids. Many of the components are the same.  My M4500 and our 2 Dell Latitude E6410 laptops have discrete nVidia cards in them. These are "Enterprise" machines, so they are optimized for things like Engineering and CAD, but can be used a lot for Gaming. My wife and DD are Gamers and they use them for that, and other things. The last of the Dell Latitude E6400 laptops we bought from Blair Technology Group (Refurbished) also has a discrete nVidia card in it. 

 

I pointed wapiti to a Dell Precision M4600 that was in an eBay auction that ended last night. The same Seller we won the 2 Dell Latitude E6410 laptops and this Dell Precision M4500 Mobile Workstation from.  It was an "INCOMPLETE LAPTOP".  It went for $163.01 + $24.00 shipping in the USA.  As I wrote wapiti, I think it might have taken approximately USD$150 more, to get a 240 GB SSD for it, a battery, and a 180 watt AC adapter. What a hot rod. It had an i7 (4 cores) and 8 GB of RAM, but could be upgraded to 32 GB of RAM. If one has Applications that can and will use more than 8 GB of RAM, that would be ideal.  

Edited by Lanny
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FWIW, we have purchased HP computers from Walmart for well over a decade and have had excellent results with them. The last one I purchased was in October of this year. I paid $209 shipped for a very nice refurbished HP computer.

 

 

If this is a recent problem, then I can say we have had exactly the same issue. There seems to be a serious issue with Windows 10 that causes computers to lose their ability to connect to the internet, even if attached with a cable. I have addressed this with FOUR different Windows 10 computers within the last couple of weeks. Here are the web pages and videos which helped me fix these problems:

 

Steps 1), 2) and 3) from this page fixed the problem on most of the computers: Windows 10 Limited Connectivity and Not Getting IP from DHCP

 

For one computer, I had to reach out to "Handy Andy" from down under:

 

 

 

I had to use the very last suggestion on the second video to get one computer working.

 

Good luck with your computers! I hope this helps.

That reminds me that I lost internet last week on my desktop. Just my hard wired desktop, no one else's. My Ethernet port was suddenly not loading. I had to shut the PC down and then turn it off in the back to get it start working properly again. I can't say for certain it was Windows 10, but I do know that it has some problems paying nice with some components and software.

 

Before buying a whole new laptop, I'd give some of those suggestions above a try. good luck!

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So over a year ago I searched, so I thought, and bought Dells.  Medical uses them, the military uses them and the online college that my daughter takes classes has a link on their site to buy them soooo, I bought one.  I bought more than one because I have more than one child and they all do school online.  I have a desktop.  I have little problems with my desktop.  I use it for everything and it's not on wifi.  Now the laptops just plain horrible.  They are Dell Inspiron15 5000 series.  I had problems since Day 1 not only with the computers but with customer service.  We have a hard time with the Internet, they won't connect even when sitting right next to the router.  Software not working well. One just stopped all together and I still have a disk inside it.  Oh and we go places and even when we go places the computers don't want to work with the wifi.  After a year with them I just want to toss them but I cannot.  We are using them but nearly every day I hear the complaint of the computers and now everyone is using my desktop while the laptops collect dust.  Don't give Apple recommendations because my husband refuses to spend money on Apple products.  Our cell phones (which work better with internet than laptops) are all androids/samsung  products.    

With the teen starting her Sr. year and doing just college courses and classes out of the house that require a laptop, my parents wish to get her a good one. One that will hopefully go with her onto college.  

 

Oh my gosh!  We ordered the same laptop and sent it back!  Costco? We reordered a Dell 7000 series because we have a two year-old laptop of the same series that has been great.  Unfortunately, the new one has some of the same problems as the 5000 series.  Not as bad, but still a problem.  I have a Dell desktop that is wonderful, and we had a Dell laptop last 8 years, but it appears Dell is not what it used to be.

 

We are going to order an HP. It is on sale at Costco online for $879, regularly $1349.  Here's a link: http://www.costco.com/HP-Pavilion-15t-Touchscreen-Laptop---Intel-Core-i7---2GB-Graphics---1080p.product.100317267.html

 

I'm sure others had good replies above, so sorry if this is duplicate - didn't have time to read.

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up to now our kids have just made do with a decent midrange laptops - brand is not really relevant. We just buy them on boxing day sales every couple years. Toshiba, Asus, Acer... I pretty much just go by general specs and don't worry too much about brand.  

but dd is getting a Surface Pro 4 for school now. Here's a

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With regard to the comments above about consumer grade versions and professional grade versions, I don't know much about this, but think this is probably true for us, too.  The Lenovo I purchased that has been such a great laptop was bought directly from the company.  All of the Dells that have not lasted as long have been from Best Buy or other big box store.

 

 

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With regard to the comments above about consumer grade versions and professional grade versions, I don't know much about this, but think this is probably true for us, too.  The Lenovo I purchased that has been such a great laptop was bought directly from the company.  All of the Dells that have not lasted as long have been from Best Buy or other big box store.

 

 It is true.  "Enterprise" class machines are designed for and sold/leased to Corporate or Government clients. Some, but not all, of the components are higher in quality than those that are in "Consumer" grade machines. The machines are designed to be easy to service. They are sold in huge quantities. They are not perfect.  An example of the higher quality is that all of our Dell Latitude machines (we have 5 of those), and this Dell Precision machine have Screens with a "Matte" (non glare) surface. That costs more.  My BIL was here with his HP laptop, "Consumer" grade, with a glossy Screen and I could only look at it for a couple of minutes. Very distracting and annoying, and hard on the eyes, if there are lights in the room.  The Hard Disk Drives and some of the other components in an "Enterprise" class machine are probably the same quality of what is in a "Consumer" grade machine, but other components are of higher quality.   I would not attempt to work on a "Consumer" grade machine, or, to try locate replacement components for one, if those were needed, but the parts can (hopefully) be found.

 

With regard to buying from "Best Buy" (did I read they are on the verge of going out of business recently?) there have been quite a few posts on WTM about people complaining about what they bought there.  

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With regard to the comments above about consumer grade versions and professional grade versions, I don't know much about this, but think this is probably true for us, too.  The Lenovo I purchased that has been such a great laptop was bought directly from the company.  All of the Dells that have not lasted as long have been from Best Buy or other big box store.

I've wondered about this.  The last laptop we purchased was directly from Dell, and it has been fantastic. Hmm....

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That's interesting. So, how to know if you are getting the professional or corporate versions? Is it the model names?

 

I remember when we remodeled, my contractor told me that certain things at the big box home stores were actually of inferior quality than what we could get from the contractor supply places. That, similarly, there were consumer grade and professional grade versions of certain things. They were a bit more expensive, but better quality. I don't remember now exactly what, but something about the shower hardware, for example. Something on the inside was lower quality from the big box store, even though it was the same brand name and same model name. I feel like it should be more clear, so that if someone wants to pay more for a higher quality item, they can have all of that info upfront and make an educated choice.

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That's interesting. So, how to know if you are getting the professional or corporate versions? Is it the model names?

 

I remember when we remodeled, my contractor told me that certain things at the big box home stores were actually of inferior quality than what we could get from the contractor supply places. That, similarly, there were consumer grade and professional grade versions of certain things. They were a bit more expensive, but better quality. I don't remember now exactly what, but something about the shower hardware, for example. Something on the inside was lower quality from the big box store, even though it was the same brand name and same model name. I feel like it should be more clear, so that if someone wants to pay more for a higher quality item, they can have all of that info upfront and make an educated choice.

 

There are several ways you can differentiate between Consumer grade machines and Enterprise machines:

 

(1) The model names. For example, a name for Dell Consumer grade models is Inspiron.  Names for Dell Enterprise class machines include Latitude and Precision.

 

(2) If you walk into a brick and mortar store, the machines there are Consumer grade.

 

(3) If you look on the Dell.com web site, for example, they wll have pages for Consumers (Home users) and for Enterprise customers. The machines shown will be  different models and configured differently.  

 

I believe when they leave the factory the Dell Enterprise class machines have hard drives that have better specs.  There are probably subtle differences in the keyboards and other components.  The Screens are  of higher quality. Possibly the Touchpad is better.   Enterprise machines are purchased for "Commonality" also, so that many components can be swapped between machines. Some components, probably most, can be swapped between machines. Even with the same model, different components can be specified when the machines are ordered, so most of the components may be similar, but some machines may be better equipped than others. We have one Dell Latitude E6410 that I believe was ordered for an Executive or Manager. It is loaded. Some have more components than others.    

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That's interesting. So, how to know if you are getting the professional or corporate versions? Is it the model names?

 

I remember when we remodeled, my contractor told me that certain things at the big box home stores were actually of inferior quality than what we could get from the contractor supply places. That, similarly, there were consumer grade and professional grade versions of certain things. They were a bit more expensive, but better quality. I don't remember now exactly what, but something about the shower hardware, for example. Something on the inside was lower quality from the big box store, even though it was the same brand name and same model name. I feel like it should be more clear, so that if someone wants to pay more for a higher quality item, they can have all of that info upfront and make an educated choice.

My plumber and plumbing supply place told me this too. Same model but different insides -- plastic vs metal. I was dubious and googled a lot, and it does seem to be true. The model number may be the same, but the SKU numbers differ, iirc. Amazon/big box are not the same as plumbing supply models, it seems.

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Probably much less bloatware as well.

 

https://www.shouldiremoveit.com/Dell-oem-bloatware.aspx

 

Yes. The last "Brand New" PC we purchased  from Dell Latin America arrived from the USA in November 2012. The Dell Inspiron Desktop we ordered for DD. They had installed McAffee on it.  We use Advanced SystemCare by Iobit.   After removing McAffee, with the Iobit Uninstaller utility, it was then necessary to Download a Utility, from the McAffee web site, to uninstall the rest of McAfee from the machine.  What I read at that time was that is typical of Anti Virus utility programs and that it was not limited to McAffee.

 

The 3 Refurbished Dell Laptops we bought from Blair Technology Group did not have Bloatware on them, if my memory is correct. Not positive, but I think they       were clean.

 

The 3 Used ("INCOMPLETE LAPTOPS") that I won from an  eBay Seller in PA either had nothing on the Hard Disk Drive (HDD had been "wiped"), or, like this Dell Precision M4500 Mobile Workstation, came without a hard disk drive in it, so they were "Clean" or "Fresh" installs of MS Windows 7, which is the best way to do it, although it takes longer, to get all the Updates for Windows and to then install your Applications and Utilities onto the machine.  

Edited by Lanny
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My plumber and plumbing supply place told me this too. Same model but different insides -- plastic vs metal. I was dubious and googled a lot, and it does seem to be true. The model number may be the same, but the SKU numbers differ, iirc. Amazon/big box are not the same as plumbing supply models, it seems.

 

That also  applies to mattresses here in Colombia and possibly in the USA too.  If you go into a SuperStore here, and you see mattresses made by a company here, and then you go to their factory outlet store, instead of the item being less expensive, it is more expensive in the factory outlet store. Why? Because in the SuperStores, they sell lower quality merchandise.  Like a "Big Box" store. We would rather go to the factory outlet store and buy directly from the manufacturer and get higher quality merchandise. More expensive, but it is higher quality.

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Thanks for the replies.  I go on vacation right after New Years. I will spend my time trying to figure out the laptops wifi and go from there.

 

With laptops, everything is a trade off. Lower weight costs more. Smaller Screen is difficult to use. Smaller keyboard is difficult to use.  Low powered low end machine makes one wish they had a faster CPU or more RAM or something else.  One must compromise, considering the available budget and the desired use.  The 6 Refurbished or Used Dell Laptops we bought for our family are generally used in the house and are perfect for that. When DIL needed something smaller and lighter, that she could carry around in her backpack when she is working during the day, and then have with her at school, at night, lots of compromises. Small screen, small keyboard, anemic CPU, 2 GB of RAM, etc. However, that fits her needs better, and that's why my wife bought it for her.  My wife and my DD and I would be *very frustrated* with that mini laptop, but it fits her needs better than an older Enterprise laptop. It depends upon what one will be doing with it, 98% of the time.

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My DS rents a Mac laptop from the university that he uses for most of his classes, but he brought an old HP from home for an information systems class that wasn't compatible with a Mac. He has loved the Mac because it is compatible with most of what he needs to do at school. We've never owned an Apple at home, so I understand your husband's reluctance, but it has been a good choice for DS at college. We're only spending about $200 for the rental for a year. DS is going to go on a two-year mission, so we don't want to make an actual purchase until he returns.

 

My kids have all done online classes through high school, so I understand how important it is to have good wifi access. We have had good luck with HP and Dell. I'm on a Dell Inspiron 3521 Notebook right now that I love, but last year we bought my daughter has an Inspirion 5000 that I cannot stand. She likes it well enough, but I really loathe it because I cannot get the mousepad to copy and paste. They were both bought directly from Dell online, but mine was from the outlet section. The HP's we've had were very basic but worked well.

 

I did recently have connection issues with this Dell, but I went online, found the solution and fixed it.It was a bit more challenging than I'm used to (I'm technologically challenged), but after a couple of attempts, I finally got the wifi working again. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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